The lasting Canterbury classic spreads its wings again to dig out of the underground tuneful toil.
It was all down to Robert Wyatt's wayward spirit: freeflowing as SOFT MACHINE were, the drummer felt constricted by being in only one band and got fired for his extraneous work. But, with a solo LP under his belt, the artist still couldn't dare be on his own - cue MATCHING MOLE, a pun on "machine molle", French for Wyatt's old group's name. Wordplay, an integral part of this album tracklist, reveal the process of its gestation which was long jams with kindred souls Phil Miller, Bill MacCormick and David Sinclair from, respectively, DELIVERY, QUIET SUN and CARAVAN. Those sessions, looked into in a smattering of previously unreleased bonus cuts here, including a blistering, brimful of ideas 21-minute version of the jazzy "Part Of The Dance", yielded a brilliant set of melodies that are broken, for convenience in consumption, to make a blinding whole.
As a result, closer "Immediate Curtain" links its foggy harmony back to the heartbreaking piano roll of "Signed Curtain" - where, instead of lyrics, Wyatt ingeniously sings the piece's structure - and is a close relative of "Instant Kitten" which in full, ever more palpable flesh tiptoes, not too closely but steadily, in the wake of "Instant Pussy" with its dewy wordless vocals and MacCormick's elastic bass. Throw into the mix the Miller's guitar-charged fusion of "Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening", Robert's percussive response to Hopper's creation for SOFTS, and romantic opener "O Caroline", an update of the song from Wyatt's debut outing, now led by Sinclair's keyboards, and the real sense of the "instant-immediate" tag becomes obvious: experimental inclinations of all involved - most obvious in the aforementioned "Part Of The Dance", that is boiled down to riff as an axis for fantastic instrumental shooting at all angles - are sacrificed to arresting tunes. In order to redress the balance and ruin the order, "Beer As In Braindeer" featuring Dave MacRae, soon to join the band, on electric piano, introduces a certain madness to their method.
Yet there's a poised discipline in two John Peel sessions on the second CD. As the MOLE's work didn't stop, the latter of these, notched at the time of the album's release, points already to the next record - sadly, the band's last. But their first, arguably a quintessence of the Canterbury scene, still bores a hole deep in one's soul.